The Central Florida area is home to one of the largest and most energetic populations of artists and entertainers in the nation. However, this vibrant industry was hit hard amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, arts and entertainment groups across the country were forced to shutter and furlough dozens of employees.
In response, Feed the Need Florida, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, and various arts community leaders came together in May to support these professionals. Every Tuesday since May 12, members of the arts and entertainment community have received hot drive-thru meals and a bag of produce at St. Luke’s.
Now, due to increasing demand, the program is expanding. Starting July 10, Feed the Need Florida will be distributing meals and produce at The Plaza LIVE, home of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, at 425 N. Bumby Ave., on Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the duration of July. Organizers say it is a much-needed central location that will expand impact and reach a new contingent of professionals living near Orlando’s urban core.
“It is our privilege to host a Feed the Need Florida location for our arts community members here at the Plaza LIVE,” said Candy Crawford, President of the Plaza Foundation Board of Directors. “The Plaza hosts a broad spectrum of live performances, both local and national, and is a place where everyone feels welcome.”
Stilt walkers and rolling pianos have become a common sight across Feed the Need Florida distributions. Like the St. Luke’s location, the Plaza pickup will have unique entertainment, with live music weekly and encouragement from fellow arts professionals.
“I continue to say that this is really all about encouragement and connectivity in a time of great isolation, uncertainty, and feelings of personal loss,” said RK Kelley, past president of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and one of the event organizers. “A free meal and a bag of produce to stretch an increasingly tight household budget is the bonus.”
Each meal is prepared and distributed according to the Department of Health and CDC guidelines. The free prepared meals are available to anyone in the arts and entertainment community, including performers, musicians, visual artists, design and production personnel, entertainment management, and more.
For more information or to make a donation, visit www.feedtheneedfl.org.
ABOUT FEED THE NEED FLORIDA
Feed the Need Florida is a public and private collaboration to feed those who are struggling with getting access to healthy food during the COVID-19 crisis, led by Orlando nonprofit 4Roots and the 4 Rivers Restaurant Group, along with a network of local restaurants and hospitality industry organizations. 4 Rivers is the lead restaurant partner in this effort, leveraging its 4 Rivers BBQ resources to support the meal preparation and distribution across the state in coordination with a network of other local businesses, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association and the Florida Department of Agriculture. For more information, visit feedtheneedfl.org or follow on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.